Coupling social impacts and rainfall severity to measure flood risks in southeastern France and the Alps

Supervisors : Juliette Blanchet and Isabelle Ruin

Laboratory : IGE (Institute for Geosciences and Environmental research), Team HMCIS (HydroMeteorology, Climate and Society Interactions), Grenoble, France

Context and objectives of the internship : This internship aims at confronting the flood hazard with social impacts for a selection of events that occurred in mountainous areas of southeastern France since the 80s, in order to investigate the social and hydrometeorological circumstances determining the occurrence of a « high-impact » event.

A database of social impact descriptors is currently being built at IGE, including the usual casualty and economic loss descriptors and also new ones of higher sensitivity, retrieved from the mass media, social media and crowdsourcing applications as well as official documentation (municipal, technical reports) related to heavy rainfall events.

A first step of the analysis will be to enrich this database with physical descriptors of heavy rainfall hazard for a selection of events in southeastern France. Assessing heavy rainfall hazard is complex because the rareness of an event (usual statistical quantification of a potential danger) varies with the time and space scales of integration of catchment basins. Therefore several descriptors of rainfall severity will be computed for each event, in order cope with the variety of space and time scales.

A second step will be to confront the social impact descriptors to the physical descriptors for the selected events, in order to investigate the statistical relationship between the space-time rainfall severity and the impact severity, both being multi-variate. The strength of this relationship will be explored with respect to the difference of exposure and social vulnerability of the territories of concern.

Candidate profile : final year of Master’s degree in earth sciences with a strong background in statistics, or final year of Master’s degree in statistics/applied mathematics. Interest in both statistics and social sciences is required. Knowledge of the “R” language ( is mandatory.

Duration : 5-6 months. Start between March and April 2018.

Application : CV + cover letter to be addressed before December 15, 2017 to juliette.blanchet and isabelle.ruin